Calls to bring back the beaver to Scotland have been approved unanimously by the board of government agency Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Up to 20 beavers may be involved in the trial
It has reaffirmed its commitment to the project, seven years after it first agreed to run a trial.
Beavers were wiped out in Scotland more than 400 years ago. SNH wants a licence to reintroduce the beaver to Forestry Commission land in Knapdale, Argyll.
The Scottish Executive said it would not be rushed into a decision.
Up to 20 beavers would be involved in a seven-year trial, if the plans are agreed by the executive.
The beavers would be brought from Norway for release as early as spring next year, after being kept in quarantine over the winter.
Wildlife enthusiasts have been trying to bring them back for at least the last three decades.
A formal application for a licence to reintroduce beavers to woodland in Argyll was made in 2000 but ministers in Edinburgh took two years to ask for more information.
Some landowners have complained that the proposals could cause damage to the environment.
Spokeswoman for SNH, Sarah Roe, said the trial reintroduction would help assess, in a controlled environment, whether it was feasible to bring beavers back to Scotland.
She said: "Most European countries have already successfully reintroduced beavers and we know that it has broad public support here.
"We hope we have demonstrated all the benefits of the trial and shown that we have worked together with a wide variety of interest groups so that any remaining concerns have been addressed."
An executive spokeswoman said: "Only when a full assessment of the information has been completed will ministers come to a decision on the licence application."